Friend joins an ensemble that already boasts Jason Isaacs (Green Zone), Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire), Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent), Olga Kurylenko (Quantum Of Solace), Timothy Dalton (The Tourist), Toby Kebbell (War Horse), Michael Palin (Monty Python And The Holy Grail), Simon Russell Beale (Into The Woods), Paddy Considine (The Bourne Ultimatum) and Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion) in a film that won't swing towards the comic quite as much as some of Iannucci's other work, but will still be darkly funny.
Adapted by Iannucci and regular collaborators David Schneider and Ian Martin from the eponymous graphic novel by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin, the film is based on true events that followed Stalin's collapse. As his ministers tussled for control and tried to chart the future of the Soviet Union, they were also acutely aware of the danger to their own lives.
"The Death Of Stalin has everything: comedy, tragedy, truth, lies, life, death, bravery and cowardice. All under the shadow of Stalin's Terror," says the co-writer/director. "So I'm really pleased we have an amazingly multifaceted cast who can give us all these things and more. It's an unbelievable ensemble – great actors, brilliant comedians, fantastic personalities – and together they give us all the horrific drama and base absurdity of the crazy last days of Stalin and the power struggle to succeed him."